Some foods are just comforting.
For example, after a stressful day, I look forward to going home and indulging in a bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. While I think this works wonders for my stress relief, it’s not the healthiest option.
Luckily, Stacy Goldberg, founder and CEO of Savorfull, has some helpful advice on how to enjoy the foods you crave.
Americans have a love affair with pizza. In fact, according to the USDA, one out of eight of us will eat pizza on any given day. It’s understandable. With all that melty cheese, zesty sauce and smoky pepperoni, what’s not to love?
Well, the carbs, sodium and saturated fat, for starters.
Next time you start craving pizza, Goldberg suggests using a cauliflower crust. “It’s low-carb, gluten-free and squeezes in a couple servings of vegetables,” added Goldberg.
If you’re ordering out and don’t have the option of a cauliflower crust, opt for a veggie pizza instead of something like a meat lovers.
“Veggie pizzas will have lower saturated fat and more antioxidants,” said Goldberg.
If I need a quick meal and want something healthy, I’ll usually opt for a salad. Salads are healthy, right?
They can be, but salads can also be loaded with dressings that are high in sodium, saturated fat and calories.
Instead of a salad with a calorie-heavy dressing, Goldberg suggests swapping it for a cup of soup. “By swapping out a salad for a vegetable broth-based soup, you’re still getting all the vegetables but none of the fat that comes with salad dressings.”
However, if you’re really craving those leafy greens, opt for olive oil and vinegar dressings, or use what Goldberg calls “the fork method.”
“Ask for your dressing on the side and lightly dip your fork in it before each bite. This drastically reduces the amount of dressing you eat,” explained Goldberg.
Greek yogurt, is loaded with probiotics and has twice the protein of your average yogurt. All good stuff, but the yogurt parfaits at the local café are also packed with sugary granola and fruit.
For a filling breakfast snack, Goldberg suggests a chia seed pudding. They’re full of omega-3s (the healthy fats), they’re high in fiber and protein, plus they’re gluten-free.
If you still want that little bit of crunch from the granola in your parfait, stick with Greek yogurt and use a high-fiber cereal instead of granola.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ice cream is one of my biggest hang-ups. No matter how full I am, somehow, I’m always ready for ice cream. Unfortunately, ice cream comes with high amounts of sugar and fat.
To get that frozen treat fix, Goldberg suggests dark chocolate frozen bananas. “Look for dark chocolate frozen bananas with more than 60 to 70% cocoa. Not only do you get a serving of fruit, but it’s also lower in fat than ice cream,” said Goldberg.
If you want something a little creamier, she also suggests freezing Greek yogurt. You’ll get more protein and less sugar than ice cream. Just make sure you’re choosing Greek yogurt with fewer than 12 grams of sugar per serving.
Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Whether you like homemade baked mac and cheese or the more instant kind you make on the stovetop, there’s something homey and satisfying about that cheesy goodness. With all its tastiness, however, mac and cheese is definitely not on the healthy list.
To up the nutrient level, Goldberg opts for bean-based pastas. These alternative pastas have more protein and fiber than regular pastas.
You can also substitute veggies like broccoli or zucchini in place of the pasta. This cuts down the carbs and gives you a serving of vegetables.
If you really want to amp it up, Goldberg suggests using pumpkin puree in your recipe. “Pumpkin puree adds a serving of vegetables and adds more bulk to the dish without adding extra calories or fat.”
Do you have any food swaps you want to share? Leave a comment in the comment section, and visit the Savorfull blog for more healthy eating tips, recipes and food swap ideas.
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